Can Mitt Romney Really Claim Not to Be a 'Career Politician?'

Romney plays up his business experience.

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As Jessica Rettig reports, former Gov. Mitt Romney is using his private sector experience—his quarter century at Boston investment firm Bain Capital—to separate himself from the pack of other GOP 2012 presidential contenders. "I have spent most of my life outside of politics, dealing with real problems in the real economy. Career politicians got us into this mess and they simply don't know how to get us out," he said in a Tuesday speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in San Antonio. The comment was most likely an attack on Rick Perry, the Texas governor and long-time politician who usurped Romney’s front-running status almost immediately after announcing his presidential bid in mid-August. Rettig points out that declaring one’s self the private-sector candidate is a risk, as, in the last century, few have successfully made it to the White House. [See photos of the GOP hopefuls on the campaign trail.]

That might not be Romney’s only problem with this strategy. Suggests Scott Galupo, Romney might only be able to consider himself the non-career politician candidate because he is actually just bad at politics. "Romney's actual electoral track record is far from MVP material—a meager five for 18 if you count statewide races and presidential primaries." After being hired by Bain in 1977, Romney left the company in 1999, to head the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games Organizing Committee. But his experience in the private sector was interrupted before that, with his unsuccessful attempt to dethrone Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy in 1994. After the 2002 Olympics, Romney entered politics once again, serving as Republican governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007 before losing the Republican presidential nomination to Sen. John McCain in 2008. Though Perry may hold the record for longest-serving Texas governor, Romney has been out of the private sector himself for over a decade, and could have been in politics even longer, had he beat Kennedy in 1994. Though he can certainly boast a successful business career, can Romney really say he has not also had a career as a politician?

What do you think? Can Mitt Romney really claim not to be a "career politician?" Take the poll and comment below.

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Previously: Is Cheney Taking Cheap Shots in His New Memoir?